9 members of Gangster Disciples, 3 US Army soldiers charged with conspiracy in alleged gun-running operation

CHICAGO — Nine members of the Pocket Town faction of the Gangster Disciples street gang now face federal conspiracy charges in connection with an alleged gun-running operation, masterminded by three U.S. Army soldiers, that brought a host of firearms to Chicago in recent years.

The 21-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Nashville, charges the soldiers and gang members with conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit firearms offenses in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Along with the soldiers, federal prosecutors charged alleged Pocket Town members Blaise Smith, Raheem Johnson, Bryant Larkin, Corey Curtis, Elijah Tillman, Terrell Mitchell, Lazarus Greenwood, Dwight Lowry and Dreshion Parks. Two other since-deceased members of Pocket Town were listed as unindicted co-conspirators.

The three soldiers — Brandon Miller, Jarius Brunson and Demarcus Adams — were initially charged in 2021 with supplying weapons to gang members in Chicago.

The soldiers — who were based at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line — are also charged with making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident and engaging in business without a license.

Federal investigators started looking at the soldiers after a mass shooting left a man dead and seven others hurt on Chicago’s Southwest Side on March 26, 2021.

Several members of Pocket Town were gathered in a storefront business in the 2500 block of West 79th Street to celebrate the birthday of a fellow gang member who was murdered about six months earlier.

During the celebration, at least two shooters opened fire on the group, leaving one man dead and seven other people wounded. The man who was killed — Dante Thomas — was listed as one of two unindicted co-conspirators.

Chicago police investigators found more than 100 shell casings at the scene of the mass shooting, and several handguns were recovered as well.

The shooters have not been charged, but police sources say investigators believe the attack was carried out by members of the No Limit faction of the Black P. Stones.

In the weeks leading up to the mass shooting, police sources said, there was an “emerging conflict” between the Pocket Town and No Limit.

On Jan. 28, 2021, Gregory Jackson III, a No Limit-affiliated rapper known as “Lil Greg,” was fatally shot in a barbershop in the South Loop.

Jackson was a close associate of G Herbo — one of Chicago’s most popular contemporary rappers who has long claimed loyalty to No Limit. In a 2012 song with fellow local rapper Lil Bibby, G Herbo sang: “Yeah it’s No Limit, 30 years runnin’, 30 years gunnin’ and we still the s—.”

Murder charges have not been filed in Jackson’s death, but on Feb. 2, 2021 police arrested Christopher Mosely after he was allegedly seen entering a vehicle that was at the scene of the barbershop shooting.

According to his arrest report, Mosley had a satchel on his person when officers asked him to get out of the vehicle. Inside the bag was a .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol with a laser sight and a drum magazine of ammunition. Arresting officers noted that the gun’s serial number was AEKW006.

Federal prosecutors in Tennessee said Miller bought that pistol from a licensed gun dealer in Kentucky less than a month before police found it on Mosley, who now faces charges of being an armed habitual criminal, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a gun.

A search of cellphones belonging to the soldiers allegedly revealed text messages that show the three soldiers discussed the prices of firearms, how many were to be purchased and from where.

In February 2021, federal prosecutors alleged Miller was discussing gun prices with someone with a Chicago phone number. In one text conversation, Miller allegedly asked the person if they wanted accessories and ammunition along with guns.

“I want to talk to u about the price n wat was it again,” the person from Chicago texted to Miller.

“Iight and wassup big dawg you said 3 .40s 3 9s and a Ar Pistol I said around 6700-6800,” Miller said. “You want sticks and eggs and everything to or u just want pipes I gotta drive 7 hrs gas and ona road taking the risk if not I’ll jus bring the pipes only no rounds or sticks the store go up and down.”

Two months later, prosecutors said Miller was texting with another phone number based in Chicago.

“We gotta hold this s— together ima still play the back role g I ain’t never turning my back on gang whatever got going on y’all ina door wit me stand on business ima stand on my business to make sure mfs got what they need,” Miller said.